Saturday, 13 November 2021

Maze Bolt+

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, you’ll be aware that Roger D has been coaxed back into making puzzles again – so after years of puzzlers chasing a limited number of copies of Roger’s classic puzzles – and their price spiralling ever-skyward on the usual auction sites – Wil has offered them for sale at eminently reasonable prices, and has pretty much serviced all the pent-up demand that was out there – much to the delight of puzzlers everywhere (hey, I managed to plug a hole in my little Roger collection) and no doubt the absolute dismay of the flippers keen to make a quick buck.

And it was good…

But then a couple of weeks ago Wil reached out to me and offered me something rather unexpected – a totally new puzzle from Roger… so I mortgaged a kidney and soon enough a well-packaged lump of aluminium and brass was delivered to my doorstep.

Wil explained that Roger had been working on this design some time ago but hadn’t quite managed to get to the point where he was happy with it… until a recent collaboration with Jean-Claude Constantin provided the necessary breakthrough and Maze Bolt+ was born.

A short while later four prototypes had been produced for testing and, thanks to Wil, one of them ended up on my doorstep... and I get to play with the first new Roger D puzzle in many years! <Cue stupid big grin!>

First impressions: this is a big aluminium bolt – it stands about 7.5 inches tall and it’s a heavy brute. Do. Not. Drop. This. On. Your. Toe. (Or indeed on any piece of furniture you’re rather taken with.) There’s a chunky brass nut that spins freely at the base and an obvious maze cut into the shaft of the bolt, and finally a little RD logo inside a hexagon on one of the bolt’s six faces. Paying a bit more attention to the maze shows that it should be pretty simple to navigate through it with four potential exits apparent at the end of the bolt…

So far so good… but I’m quite the curious sort so I spend a while examining the bits of the maze I can see even further, and I can’t find any evidence of foul play so I dive in and find a way into the maze, spinning the nut around the shaft and then through the maze… which seems even more elementary than I’d thought it was and without almost any effort at all, the nut is right up at the top of the bolt, only it won’t come off… my smile widens – game on!

I spend a while back-tracking and looking for alternate routes, and manage to find some, but it turns out they all lead absolutely nowhere as well… “which is interesting”. [Copyright LB]  

It’s only when I engage serious puzzle-mode that I start spotting things that don’t behave the way I’m expecting them to, and that scares me a little because up until now I had a very clear mental model of what I was dealing with… exploiting some of those discoveries leads to a wonderful “A-Ha!” moment, and with a little more chicanery you can remove the nut entirely and see exactly why things don’t behave quite as you expect them to…

And if it all stopped there, this would be a pretty darn good puzzle – and if it was called Maze Bolt, that would probably be it… only there’s a little plus at the end of the name and that little plus really puts the cherry on the cake – and makes this an excellent puzzle.

Sure, there’s heaps of pedigree in the design(er) – but this one doesn’t rest on those laurels in the slightest – it earns respect and provides delight – Roger is back!

If you’re interested in acquiring one of these for your own little hoard, I’m afraid you’re going to need to be patient as they won’t be available until Q2 next year… at this stage there are literally only four prototypes around and it’s going to take a while to produce these big old lumps of brass and aluminium. They’re also not going to be particularly cheap. (You saw the bit about them being big old lumps, right?) You know who to reach out to if you want one…


  1. Hi Allard,
    do you have any news how it's going on with the crafting of this puzzle?
    And do you know if Roger D will make some more of his old creations?
    Maybe you also have some news about future Wil's puzzles? Thanks so much. Tim

    1. Hi Tim - I'm still expecting them in Q2 and from what I've seen, yes, a nmuber of the older Roger puzzles are going back into production.